Monday, April 07, 2008

Dinner's On Mangino!

Setting the record straight: Any time y'hear that dinner's on Mangino, clarification should be swift and unwavering.

No ... the Kansas Jaywalks football coach Mark Mangino has no intention of TREATING anybody to dinner (with two dinners for himself).

Y'see, once we notice the the two mustard stains on Mangino's 7 XL shirt and the three ranch-dressing splotches on the front of his 8 XL windbreaker, the conclusion is abundantly clear.

Mangino is WEARING dinner.


Careless table manners aside, what transpired tonight on the b/ball hardwood of nat'l championship import HAS to be almost as exciting for the kids in Lawrence, KS as that time during the first week of 2008 when that Jaywalk QB whose name America can't remember led KU to that victory in that bowl game that nobody was paying attention to.

Alas ... such is life when you're the only quality basketball program in a football conference.

Either way, Mangino's probably so jacked right now that he might've just rolled up the sleeves on that aformentioned 8 XL windbreaker (unless he wears an XXXXXXXXXL) in preparation to chow down a platter (or four) of victory beef ribs with a few (or five) helpings of victory mashed potatoes (with championship gravy!).

Coach will conclude his evening of celebration with several rounds of hardcore sleep apnea.

That is ... unless Coach Mangino is actually pissed that the Jaywalk b-ball program is grabbin' the spotlight away from his football program.

After all, there are people in Kansas (as well as some of us outside the Jaywalk State) who'll never rank tonight's 75-68 OT win over Memphis ahead of the KU football team pulverizing Nebraska, 76-39, last autumn.

And here's why:

Against the 'Huskers, the Jaywalks had 76 points with 11:12 to play in the game and, if Mangino wanted, he could've ordered QB Todd Reesing (30 of 41, 354 yds., 6 TDs) to push the needle to the 90-point mark -- which, on that day, would've required 4:04 of elapsed playing time, thus giving KU a 90-45 lead with 7:08 to play in the game ... more than enough time for the Jaywalks to return an INT for a TD and maybe score a garbage-time TD in the final minute for a 104-51 victory ... ).

STOP IT! Although every day of the year is better for talking about coll. FB than coll. b-ball (not that either sport is any less corrupt than the other), the law of the jungle sez that we're 'sposed to be riveted to the coll. b-ball title game so that we can zero in on that One ShoeShining Moment.

Some of us, though, weren't transfixed to the ODTV (ordinary-definition television transmitting ordinary-resolution images of ordinary players doing ordinary things) during the final few minutes of regulation because, well ... after one-and-done freshman Derrick Rose took over during that 8-minute stretch wherein he went 6-for-6 and scored 14 pts., well ... it looked pretty much over and Coach Cal was gonna be king of the universe and he woulda bored the shit outta us all about how nobody gave his program any respect and nobody believed in us, blah blah blah, but we believed in ourselves and people root against us because we're the villians and blah blah blah blah blah ...

And, so what if some of us didn't see it live when Mario Chalmers drained the big 3 at the end of regulation ... (undetermined: whether it was a sandwich break or a smoke break which had us wandering away and not really caring).

Some of us are more brokenhearted about the fact that we never got to see Gail Goodrich bustin' loose for 40 in the 100-76 win over BYU ... or Goodrich rippin' USF for 30 in a 101-93 victory ... or the lefty star slicing up Wichita State for 28 in the Bruins' 108-89 Final Four triumph ... or Goodrich outshining Cazzie Russell in the title game by outscoring the Michigan standout, 42-28 -- only Gail was not the tourney's MOP in '65 because Princeton's Bill Bradley put on a b-ball clinic in the Final Four, scoring 29 against Michigan and then 58 (with 17 rebounds) against Wichita State in the national third-place game -- and, sure (wink, wink) today's players are so much better and stronger and faster and quicker than Gail Goodrich or Bill Bradley ... and, because they are, that's why Memphis' Joey Dorsey can gobble up 15 rebounds (as he did the other night against UCLA) and score zero points against the Bruins.

Because, if you emptied everyone out of the gym, Joey Dorsey MIGHT score a basket in the next 15-20 minutes.

Because he's better, faster, stronger than players from 43 years ago.

Keep tellin' yourself that ... maybe one day you'll believe it ... after all, this was the tournament when, after Stephen Curry missed 8 of 12 threes against Kansas, America's favorite hair-gel disaster -- and ex-UCLA coach -- Steve Lavin was ready to pin a medal of valour on the Davidson gunner.

Stephen (spelled like 'STEE-VIN") wants you to pronounce it "STEF-FON."
But, some of us don't feel like it -- although we're willing to split the difference and call him "Steffin" from this point forward (wait ... doesn't Steffin play shooting guard and NOT point forward?)

It probably doesn't matter -- 'cuz Lavin's hair gel wants to invent a cool catch-phrase such as "You can't spell 'courageous' without 'c-u-r-r-y.' "

Let's face it: "Steffon Courageous" doesn't have quite the same ring as "Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the armies of the north and general of the Felix Legions ... and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius."

Oh, and just for the heck of it: Some of us will NOT rank Mario Chalmers' J as some sort of miracle shot.

It was a fallaway J ... so, it's safe to assume that Mario shoots one of those in practice every day (and misses 59 percent of them, ha ha ... ).

Anyway, if it helped that some of us weren't watching when Calipari was "this close" (this close!) to b-ball's top of the mountain, well ... kudos to us for creating the necessary good vibe and positive energy.

Same thing happened during the Super Bowl when we couldn't stand the thought of Belichick and Brady gettting all bear-huggy and Caucasian and awkward.

Although, then, like now, we were there for the Plaxico TD ... and OT tonight.

Watching the shift in the body language of the Patriots (then) and Memphis (tonight), well ... that's classic stuff.

OT offered the most-priceless of the shining moments which ya hear so much about.

In this case, it was as KU's Brandon Rush was preparing to gak a layup -- as Robert Dozier overran the play.

Rush tracked down the rebound (following the gakked layup) and avoided Chris Douglas-Roberts (and CDR's "Judy"-on-the-neck tatt), who was overrunning the play.

Which led to Rush eventually scoring (after the two bodies had already flown past him) ... and, as he was pivoting to run back upcourt, he bumped into Shawn Taggart -- who DIDN'T overrun the play because, ummmm ... he bumped into Rush before he had a chance to overrun the play (which he would've done ... if he hadn't run into Rush) ...

That's how it went down, Officer (close enough, anyway, without accessing TiVo) -- it was just fun to watch Memphis guys running around in such an athletic fashion (the way that Coach Cal teaches athleticism when he athletically draws up athleticism on the chalkboard)

Remember: Today's Memphis players are better/faster/stronger/quicker than the Memphis players of the 1973 Tiger team which lost to UCLA in the title game -- and Joey Dorsey (6 pts., 2 rebs. tonight) is going to be five times the pro player that Larry Kenon was (because today's players are better/faster/stronger/quicker/dumber than yesteryear's bad asses).

Also ... we're going to hear (ad nauseum) about how missed FTs doomed Memphis, but, in truth, that was only a sliver of what cost the Tigers.

For one thing, other than the 8 minutes down the stretch when Rose was takin' over (6 of 6, 14 pts.), the kid didn't do a thing.

Oh, and Calipari still gives every player on the team the green light to shoot the 3-ball (because, if you're shootin' 27 percent "from distance" you WILL get to 30 percent by missing five of your next eight treys).

Another thing: Memphis gave up too many baskets inside -- a point which could've been driven home emphatically by the Disneyland Sports Network called ESPN ("c'mon ... somebody use the word 'physicality' ") if only the cartoon sports channel hadn't axed the younger black ex-player (Hubert Davis) in favor of the dinosaur white ex-coach (Bob Knight) for the postseason studio lineup.

Seriously ... if that's the "smart ratings move" then shouldn't Bobby Dinosaur be allowed the latitude to to use his gynasium practice vocabulary instead of lobotomizing us with vanilla studio/coach-speak?

Instead of "Memphis could have played better defensively in the paint," Bob & His Sweater could've used his everyday, informal dialect such as, "Memphis did a goddamn horseshit job defending the low post and that's why they lost the fucking game."

Alas, since ESPN is the TV equivalent of Memphis b-ball, that "worldwide leader" tagline is about as powerful as the Tigers' boasts of being a Conference-USA superpower.

For good measure: There's no coaching or organization ... just do whatever the fuck you want out there ...

Seriously, the Worldwide Loser could've substituted Kansas-Memphis highlights for Berman's flabby body playin' golf in the nude at a local muni course -- and, really, what is America going to do?

NOT watch ... ?

A lot of us, however, tuned out EXPM years ago ... kinda like the way that Knight's players usually tuned him out 1 1/2 weeks into each season -- something which isn't scheduled to change in Lubbock during the '08-'09 season because it'll be Bob's words coming out of the mouth of that puppet whose expression never changes and whose voice is a dull, monotone ... say "hello" everybody to Pat The Puppet (architect of that 58-point loss to Kansas down the stretch ... the game in which KU players' grandmas and neighbors came out of the stands and drilled threes during a ceremonial micturation and defecation into the Texas Tech basketball casket which A.D. Gerald Myers left wide open the day Bobby quit with 10 games to go and no adequate replacement was contacted).

College basketball coaching staffs are almost as amusing as college football coaching staffs -- only the personnel is not as effectual as the "bench coach" in the MLB (at least the crossing guard in most neighborhoods has the power to prompt the braking of motor vehicles simply by raising a hand-held STOP sign ... which is approx. 17 to 36 times more influence than a college coach has over ANYTHING).

That's why it was kinda cute tonight to see Kurtis Townsend on the KU bench and Rod Strickland on the Memphis bench as they sat there ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting for that one shining moment when one of them would win a national championship ring and the other would be left with the "National Finalist" bling.

Shhhhhhh ... we're not supposed to talk about Kurtis' "possible" involvement with guys named Sharif, Tremaine and Jelani which got the Cal Bears in very hot water more than 15 yrs. ago (although most of us are going to remember Kurtis' CCS Division III champion Leigh Longhorns of '89 or '90 ... whichever year it was when they blew us away with some amazing 77-80 percent FT shooting in the postseason ... truly amazing ... ).

Rod Strickland? Classic hire by Calipari. Because, goddammit, it's about giving opportunities to people with baggage, goddammit.

This much is certain: No amount of nitpicking can take away from this moment, which ranks right up there with those occasions when you walk into the pantry, pull out a box of brown sugar and savor each golden tablespoon after wonderful tablespoon.

Mangino ain't there yet.

Y'see, he's on a mission to get through these next three plates of fettucini alfredo (with extra creamy sauce) before embarking on the mission to put a national championship trophy next to Bill Self's in the trophy case.

Grog ... jog ... Jayhog ...


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